Chapter 4.16 – Confidence

This latest trip to China has easily been Hope’s favorite one to date.
 
The timing of this trip had been absolutely perfect. Her father’s return home provided enough excitement to shoot her through the stratosphere. But it was the discussion about plans for the new estate that truly sent her into the next gear. Her brain had become such a crisscross of over-stimulation, that Hope was having difficulty focusing on anything. Her grandparents, too, were overwhelmed at first by the stream of consciousness spilling from her. And after considerable effort on the part of her grandfather, it turned out that martial arts was not the key to creating tranquility in her life at all. Who could have guessed it would turn out to be cooking? She had been around the kitchen her entire life, but had never been in the company of a true culinary artist before. The memories of spending time with her grandmother are ones that Hope will cherish her entire lifetime.
 
And now that she has returned home, she finds comfort in practicing what she learned in China. The new kitchen, of course, is spectacular. And this helps to further build her confidence as she tries new combinations and varieties of flavors. She has finally found something she can sink her teeth into and continue to get better at, rather than busting her tail just to keep up. She feels focused and centered in the kitchen; sensations she had only experienced before while fishing.
 
Dara celebrates her birthday at the new estate, but does not seem to care one way or another whether she has a sweet sixteen birthday party. Dara’s indifference is completely foreign to Hope, and it boggles her mind. So she once again plans a huge gathering for her sister’s birthday, whether she wants it or not. There is a brief feeling of resentment that Michael cannot come, and Hope contemplates (if only for a moment) inviting him anyway. But she decides against it, not wanting to create a fuss at her sister’s birthday. She will be an adult soon enough. Then she will be able to make her own choices concerning who she can invite over.
 
Hope and Dara each have very different ways of dealing with a town buzzing about the new estate on Summerhill Drive. The girls are the center of attention on campus, a role that Hope enjoys thoroughly. Dara seems much less impressed by the social spotlight than her gregarious sister. In fact, she seems oddly paranoid about the notoriety. But Hope writes this off as a personality trait inherited form their mother, who always seems quietly worried about something.
As the weeks peel away, memories of the painful past meld into the others, and fade from sight. Mark and Mei celebrate their middle-aged birthdays a few days apart. Hope discovers that Dara is not necessarily anti-social, but just prefers to keep a few very close friends. One of these special friends is Richard Nava, Michael’s brother. Hope had failed to recognise him at first. He is the same age as Dara. She first saw him the day she met Michael’s mother at the school (Note: See Chapter 4.4 – Bruises), but she never had payed much attention to him. He always seemed like that odd kind of kid who just blends in; hidden in plain sight. A lot like Dara, actually.
 
Hope, on the other hand, is more sociable than ever. Finally finding her confidence has had a profound effect. But it is not the only change that came back with her from China. The romance that has flowered between her parents has rubbed off on her in a big way. And she finds herself flirting with just about every guy at school. Hope begins to enjoy this new aspect of her personality. But she ignores the comments from her friends that she’s finally letting go of that creepy thug, Michael Nava. Rather, to her delight, Michael seems to have finally taken some notice of her since she has started to spread her attention around. It had been quite some time since he has spoken more than a few words to her; at least since the incident at her birthday party.
 
He leverages the excuse of telling her about a wild house party to speak with her one afternoon, during dismissal. The flock of boys who had gathered around her clears out in an instant as he approaches. He makes an off-color joke about finally loosening her chastity belt and then laughs at her reaction. She wants to be offended, but is instead swept up in his brash flirtation. He gives her the address to the party and instructs her to bring a few bottles of the “good stuff”. It sounds more like a command, than a request.
 
He walks away confidently and high-fives one of his creepy-looking friends. Her heart is pounding in her chest. The confidence she has been enjoying suddenly retreats, and she begins to tremble with nervousness. Her conscience demands that she say no, but the same funny feeling she experienced while they were kissing in the basement, drives her to say yes. So late that same night, when her parents are asleep, she sneaks into the winery and takes a number of very expensive bottles of vintage flamefruit. She tells herself it is okay, because it will make Micheal happy.
 
 
Then she quietly jumps into her sports car and races off to be with him.
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10 thoughts on “Chapter 4.16 – Confidence

  1. FortA says:

    Hope, Hope, Hope! C’mon, didn’t you learn anything the last time you were with Michael?? You need to be an example, not stoop to his level.

    Zoxell, I love your updates. You have a gift has as a writer – a tremendous one at that. Regarding sims, I love how you can get across such a breadth of information in so few words – something only the best writers can do. Guess that puts you up there with them!! 🙂

    FortA

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  2. I feel like Hope isn’t going to learn until it’s far too late. While I’m praying that things don’t turn out like that, I feel like her goodwill and Michael’s…well, nature are going to bring her down really fast. 😦

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    • Welcome back! I totally understand how difficult it can be to keep juggling so much stuff. I tend to “disappear” from posting comments myself. I’ll get caught up reading… eventually… 😛

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  3. Oh no! I really really hope that she can come to her senses about Micheal before she is in too deep. Even though I have said I wish he could be saved, I dont think he can. He was so damaged and witnessed many horrors as a child…too late now to reel him in from that black hole he is in.
    Hope is such a beautiful creature inside and I fear he will taint her.

    Dara is pretty! And she is so quiet..I do think she has gotten it from Mei. But then again maybe she is smarter than Hope on the plain of thinking straight and clear and not influenced. Glad to hear that Micheals brother seems like an alright kid and not far gone as his brother is…at least I hope he isnt. :/

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  4. I think that as much as Hope has grown, she is still very much the little girl that first encountered Michael and was determined to befriend him – albeit now in a different way. *sigh*

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  5. FortA calling zoxell one of the best is an understatement both he and dusty should be called the best writers in the history of man both of them write stories that no other can and I cant help but be hooked on their stories and I hope neither of them ever stop writing their stories

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    • LOL. See, now you’re gonna make me go fetch my wife to read this. She laughs that I play with my “little people” who always clean up after themselves.
      Thanks again! 😉

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